When Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February many feared its defenses would not last long enough to resist the attack. Since then, the country surprised many with its resilience, capacity, willingness to fight, and many more. To celebrate both Ukrainian Independence Day and the courage of the Ukrainian people, GLOBSEC's Ukraine and Eastern Europe team put together a list of ways in which Ukraine has surprised the world since the beginning of the war with Russia.
1. With 182 days of courageous resistance and fighting, Ukrainians have proved their defensive abilities. With their 22nd rank, Ukrainian Armed Forces have been fighting against the 2nd-ranked Russian Armed Forces. Around 1/3 of territories, in particular, 1 054 cities, towns, and villages, occupied since February 2022, have been liberated from Russian occupiers. 68 860.59 hectares of land have been searched, and 18 5432 explosives have been destroyed. According to Ukrainian officials, 45 400 Russian combatants have been killed.
2. According to a national poll in June, more than half of the population has volunteered, while 78% of Ukrainians have donated to the army, and 58% financially supported humanitarian causes. While the Ukrainian military does wonders on the frontline, another superpower brings Ukraine closer to victory: its multi-million volunteer “army”. Since February 24, volunteering and donations have become nationwide occupations. From the smallest children to the oldest pensioners, Ukrainians are contributing to the fight as much as they can. From collecting 12,5 million USD for Bayraktars in three days to constantly working on supporting the army with protective gear and medical supplies, helping people escape from dangerous areas, feeding displaced compatriots, and rebuilding destroyed houses, Ukraine has shown the world what they are capable of.
3. Ukrainian businesses have demonstrated high resilience to the risks and challenges of the war. While by mid-March, 30% of companies stopped their activity, this number was reduced to 14% by mid-May. This resilience has proven the efficiency of a business model with decentralized production, networking in business logistics, and flexible management. The scale of IT service exports during the first half of 2022 exceeded the same period last year by 23%.
4. Ukraine has managed to ensure its food security even in the most challenging war period. Properly protecting and accumulating stocks of seeds, agrochemicals, and fuel have allowed Ukraine to hold the sowing campaign successfully. Regardless of gloomy forecasts, sowing has been held at 78% of last year’s amount. And this has been accomplished with half of the Ukrainian territory contaminated by weapons. Continuing hot periods of war have not prevented Ukraine from harvesting. For the mid-August 91% of wheat, 96% of barley have been harvested – totally from 5,8 mln ha.
5. Ukrainian exports to European partners were 8,3 % larger in June 2022 than in June 2021, even with the Black Sea ports locked, with the support of European countries.
6. Ukraine has exported 10 million tons of cereals and oilseeds. The fast implementation of EU’s Solidarity Lines and the signing of a Road Freight Agreement with the EU have helped boost these exports. The Agreement expanded and generalized 12 bilateral agreements with EU countries on the abolition of permits for road freight. The Solidary Lines smoothed the road for precious grain and other goods. Citing Ursula von der Leyen, “Ukraine is the granary of the world”.
7. The Russian aggression against Ukraine has bolstered the social cohesion of Ukrainian society. Ukrainians show greater trust in public institutions (54% now versus 5% at the end 2021); trust in the President – 91% versus 24,7%; and commitment to the idea of NATO accession – 72% vs 60%.
8. Self-organizing capabilities of Ukrainians have hugely risen. Almost 1 500 NGOs have emerged in Ukraine between March and July 2022.
9. A few hours before the full-scale Russian invasion, Ukraine joined, and has since then successfully operated within, the EU power system, ENTSO-E. Ukraine started to test operation of the power system in the isolated mode within the scheduled road map of synchronization with the Continental Europe power system. Ukrenergo, Ukraine's electricity transmission system operator, has managed to maintain the functioning of the Integrated Power System during the first most difficult days as well as secure access to electricity until March 16, 2022. Now, it works to enable more technical capacities for commercial operations and complete its integration into the European electricity market.
10. And, of course, it is no wonder that 98% of Ukrainians believe in Ukraine’s victory!